Happy (early) Mother's Day to my mom, my abuela, my aunts, Matt's mum, and all of the moms out there! My parents are having a big Mother's Day brunch with all of my family this weekend in Michigan and I'm bummed I'll be missing out. I'm sure there will be an amazing flan.
Flan is eaten at almost every gathering in my family. It reminds me of my childhood and all of the summer pig roasts my aunt would host, Christmas eve parties, Cuban domino gatherings at my abuela's, Thanksgiving at my parents house, and random family dinners. This recipe was my abuela's, then my mom tweaked it and now I've added a little something of my own to it as well. Either you love flan, you hate it, or you've never tried it. Regardless of what category you fall into, you should try this one. This flan is silky smooth and as the flan bakes, all of the little pistachio and coconut bits rise to the top of the pan creating a little crust. This layer ends up on the bottom of the flan once you've flipped it onto your serving plate. Once you top the silky flan with the contrasting crispy texture from the toasted coconut and crushed pistachios, you have the perfect mixture of custard and crunch.
My mom's all time favorite flavor, besides chocolate, comes from pistachios. She lovessss to crack pistachios in the shells and pistachio ice cream. She also loves coconut and I happen to think that pistachios and coconut taste delicious together. Here's to you, mom!
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/3 cup finely shredded coconut
- 5 whole eggs
- 14 oz of condensed milk
- 12 oz of evaporated milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- toasted coconut shavings, for garnish (THESE are amazing)
- crushed pistachios, for garnish
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 325F. Prepare the caramel by adding 1/4 cup water to 3/4 cups of sugar in a small saucepan over medium to low heat. Do not stir with a spoon, just swirl the pan around. Let it simmer and bubble. When sugar starts to thicken and turn an amber color, remove from heat, being very careful not to get burned with any splattering that may occur. Coat a loaf pan or mold by slowly pouring the caramel and turning the pan to swirl the caramel around the sides and bottom. Be careful, as the caramel is extremely hot. The caramel will solidify as it coats the bottom and sides of the mold.
In a food processor (or blender) pulse the pistachios and coconut until they become a wet sand texture. To the food processor with the nuts and coconut, add the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, salt and vanilla. Blend until mixture is well combined but not too bubbly.
Skim the foamy bubbles from the top of the mixture and gently pour into the caramel coated mold. If you get some of the pistachio and coconut bits as you skim the mixture, strain out the bubbles and add the nuts and coconut back to your mixture. Skimming the bubbles will keep the flan silky when it comes out of the oven instead of looking curdled once you cut into it.
Place a dish towel on the bottom of a deep baking dish (not under) then place the mold on top of the towel, this will keep the mold from moving around when you put it in the oven as well as diffuse some of the heat from the delicate flan mixture as it bakes. Fill the baking dish with warm tap water up to half of the mold (this is called a Bain-Marie or baño Maria). The towel will not burn in the oven because it will be soaked in water.
Bake for about 1 hour and 10-20 minutes in the middle rack. The flan is ready if you can insert a toothpick in the middle and only a little gel-like coating is left on the toothpick when removed. If the toothpick comes out looking wet the flan needs more time. Carefully remove the flan when ready and allow to cool on the counter in the baking pan with the hot water.
When completely cooled (otherwise it will crack) place serving dish flat against the top of the mold and turn it upside down in a fast motion. Chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Top with toasted shaved coconut and crushed pistachios, slice and serve!